Permaculture

A visit to an organic orchard

A couple of weeks ago we visited an organic apple orchard.  The event was arranged by our local organic, bio-dynamic group, OBDA. It was wonderful to see an orchard of such a scale embracing organic principles.  They have been certified organic for around 20 years and so have their processes and practices well honed!  The tour started with the orchardist crushing apples for juice – fresh pink ladies and gala apples squeezed right before our eyes and so delicious! The apple press was a small hand operated piece of equipment which I’d like to re-create one day for our own use.  It had a hand crank on the top, a feeder box for the apples which crushed them then fed them into the press below. The press was then moved underneath the hand operated press and the juice was squeezed out of them into a bucket. We couldn’t get enough of it – delicious is an understatement!  Here it is in action.

Apple Press

This was followed by a demonstration of how the apples are sorted for size and packed into large crates.  Once they are washed, they go onto a conveyor belt where they are sorted by size and dropped onto the appropriate belt for packing.

Washing Organic Apples

 Sorting Apples

Sorted Apples

It was great to see this in action.  This was followed by a demonstration on grafting fruit trees – apples actually!  And the orchardist was so generous with his knowledge – I might even have a go at this myself sometime – spring is the best time I hear, so I will have to wait a while.

We then headed up to a lovely courtyard area built by his son and had a tour of the orchard, followed by delicious fresh wood oven pizza (not topped with apples) and apple crumble – of course!

The whole day was inspiring, fun and educational and I would recommend to everyone, that if you have an opportunity to go and visit a working farm then go and do it – go and see how your food is really produced and get to know the farmer.  They are generous and helpful and filled with knowledge – and you might even get some to take home too!

Organic Apple